Are you in a battle of good vs evil when it comes to binge eating disorder? Is evil winning out more days than good? In the moment when compulsive overeating seems to be the *best* option do you plot the contents of your binge with military precision? Or just throw back the pantry doors and let loose? Either way before the end is near the guilt, shame, self-loathing, anger, disappointment and depression will wash away any high the binge had temporarily provided. Seeking treatment to understand the reasons behind compulsive overeating is necessary as is gaining family support to subdue this struggle. However start taming this beast now with some helpful tactics below.
1. Manage stress.
I’m not going to suggest you go all zen because that just isn’t realistic, but being very honest in monitoring your mood is key. Keep a mood chart highlighting your monthly peaks and valleys to see a correlation to bingeing. Lavender oil either put on the wrists or infused in your home makes your senses aware to chill. Learn how to say “no” to too many good opportunities as the pull of our time shortens our patience. Know if you open that email from your mother-in-law it will send you straight to the pantry. Success starts when you identify triggers and not binge in response. Does arguing with your husband before bed spike your stress thermometer? Write down what sets you over the edge along with options for better reactions because life will happen and you will be tested – so have a game plan and anticipate any chance to try out your new reactions that are not caloric “solutions.”
2. Avoid temptation by being aware of your triggers.
For me I know now what can set off a binge from a strict diet ending to confrontation in a relationship or even PMS. I am much more aware not to have binge worthy treats in the house during those times. I have had to replace unhealthy habits with wholesome substitutes. Self medicating with a drive through milkshake inhaled before I even get out of the parking lot just isn’t healthy. Chowing down on an apple covered in almond butter and hemp seed might not feel as satisfying in the high anxiety moment, but I know in half an hour I will be thrilled with my healthier choice.
3. Stop crash dieting.
4. Plan ahead for three healthy squares and two snacks.
Ever notice that during the temptation of Christ where he was alone in the desert for 40 meal free days the devil told Jesus to turn the rocks into bread? That’s carbs people. There’s a reason that Satan didn’t tempt with broccoli. When you are chasing little people around all day and staying two steps ahead of them by the grace of God (most days) your pallet is usually the last thing on your mind. Many of my friends have luck with weekend batch cooking to prepare for the week ahead. Making extra dinner to provide for lunch the next day is my go to. Having protein options plus veggies and fruit washed and ready to grab is a must. Healthy popcorn, nut butter, handful of raw slmonds, raw veggie sticks, protein bars and healthy non GMO free protein shakes to quickly mix with a non-dairy milk gives me no excuse to pantry graze. And let’s be honest, if I’m grazing too long one of my little people is probably out there unattended and bleeding!
5. Fight boredom as a top reason to trip a binge.
Making a list of things you must accomplish before squirreling away empty calories might be the spark you need to pre-empt a binge. Must brush teeth first (studies show clean teeth can stop a binge although in the moment I’d probably tell you what you could do with your toothbrush.) Must dust living room first. Or clean toilets – whatever your most hated task is. Must drink 3 glasses of water first as sometimes hunger isn’t hunger and it’s actually the cusp of dehydration. Drink your water and force yourself to wait 20 minutes to see if the urge passes. Must complete three rounds of 10 burpees followed by 10 push ups. The physicality might snap you out of the caloric desire, just don’t use it as an excuse to binge! Must drink 1/4 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar mixed in water. For some reason ingesting ACV utterly sickens me towards food for about 15 minutes after drinking the concoction. I’ve used this “cocktail” as a binge intervention. If you have to battle your inner binger to beat her back, then whatever you have to do – snapping rubber bands, running around the house 5 times – is not crazy. It’s prescriptive.
6. Exchange one unhealthy habit for one simple change every month.
Just that alone is 12 intentional changes in a year. One area where almost every can use help is to hydrate more. Increase your water consumption to match half of your weight in ounces (if you weigh 150 pounds then consume 75 ounces of water or a little over 9 eight ounce glasses of water.) Is exercise a part of your life? Add strolling in the neighborhood walking the dog because 10 minutes of picking up poop is 10 minutes away from the chaos of your home. Getting your heart rate up if you are cleared by a doctor and sweating at least 30 minutes four days a week will do wonders to balance and better your mood although starting a workout regime might make you crankier the first two weeks in. If you aren’t feeling as well rested as you could, start adding more sleep time on the front half of the night. Back your going to bed time back by 15 minute increments until you get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Now I can’t promise that will be 7 uninterrupted hours if your home is anything like mine, but it’s a start.
7. Get a physical.
Did you know that chocolate cravings have been tied to low magnesium so you never know if your body is simply lacking nutrients. Look into adding more greens to your plate, or check out a whole food supplement like Juice Plus to bridge the gap of missed vegetables and fruits. I read once that over 50% of mothers are living with an underactive thyroid and have no idea. Like the walking dead they are going through each day with a sluggish metabolism, brain fog, cold hands, brittle hair, interrupted sleep patterns, etc. Getting a physical post babies beyond your gyno check up is a must annually for all of us, however be sure to push to have your T3, T4 and TSH levels checked. Vitamin D4 is sometimes low too leading to depression like symptoms and extreme exhaustion. All of those are tipping points for binge eating in some so be your own health advocate and push for testing, ask questions and change doctors if you do not feel as though your concerns are being heard. Wouldn’t be the first time a mom is discounted for just being tired when there were underlying reasons for her questionable health.
8. Get a healthy gut.
As the “second brain” gut health is significant to our overall health. Consider going gluten free or dairy free (both inflammatory elements our bodies have trouble digesting.) Eliminate sugar and put good bacteria back in the gut with fermented foods, Kombucha, probiotics, etc. The cravings lessened significantly then were completely gone for me when I cut out sugar, soy, gluten and dairy for a 30 day challenge while flooding my body with phytonutrients from Juice Plus concentrated fruits and veggies capsules. Within 4 days I saw a difference – to include increased patience and decreased eradicate behavior once a month. And that continued the next month and the next so for me this is a way of life. The sugar in the gut wants more sugar so think of greedy little parasites in there. Sugar feeds sugar and so forth. Once I “starved” that sugar and replaced the bad bacteria with good, it was like finally putting the right gasoline in a car. Get the right fuel and everything just runs better.
Check out my dear friend Emma’s site – she’s a nutritional coach, holistic teacher, certified instructor and overall great person, momma and neighbor. She is the gut guru and sets up monthly challenges if you are interested in joining her clean eating gut girls! www.bemomstrong.com
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